On the Front Foot: ECB chief and Cameron's pal Marland remain the best of enemies

 

It is one of those peculiarities of life that Giles Clarke, the top man in English cricket, and Lord Marland, his erstwhile would-be nemesis, have never met.

How tantalisingly close they came the other evening in Colombo. The two men were dining in the same downtown restaurant on separate tables. They were never more than a good-length ball apart but they did not acknowledge each other's presence.

Clarke is the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, Marland the man who briefly stood against him for the office two years ago and is now one of the owners of The Cricketer magazine. They said some beastly things about each other then, before Marland withdrew his candidacy when it became clear the votes were all going the other way.

Last month, Clarke wasre-elected unopposed for another three-year period, which may indicate what a jolly good job he is doing but is hardly healthy for cricketing democracy. He has attended both Test matches in Sri Lanka in his official capacity.

Marland, under-secretary for state for energy and friend of the Prime Minister, is here in his capacity as a deep-rooted lover of the game, who has long sought to become more involved after making a City fortune.

They are different kinds of chaps. But you never know, Clarke and Marland might have forged the beginning of a beautiful friendship at the London Grill to take cricket forward into a brave world. They chose not to.

Sitting on fence over Sofa

It is fascinating that Giles Clarke has not uttered a dickie about The Cricketer's acquisition of laddish online commentary site Test Match Sofa (still mildly irreverent, faintly diverting, nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is).

He is a great defender of broadcasting rights holders. Sofa, available in foreign parts where Test Match Special is not, is breaking no laws, however, since commentating from the telly might be irritating but is not illegal. Marland, in line with a non-interference policy, has been equally silent about Sofa.

Why not a gong for Knott?

Alan Knott, probably England's greatest wicketkeeper/batsman, is 66 tomorrow. By the time he is 67 it would be superb to introduce him as Alan Knott MBE (or OBE). He is one of the few great cricketers of his era not to have received a gong, along with the great fast bowler John Snow, and the former captain Tony Greig.

Many of the present team have already been invested into some order or other, with Alastair Cook being the most recent. With due respect to Cook, who may score enough runs one day to elicit the top accolade, he is not Knott. Or Snow. Or Greig.

Greig, to whom the modern cricketer owes a great debt, is at last being rehabilitated. He will deliver the Cowdrey Spirit of Cricket Lecture at Lord's later this year shortly after the Birthday Honours. Redemption would be complete if he was introduced with letters after his name.

Flower to bloom at Marathon

Between preparing England to win, or in the event draw, a Test series, Andy Flower has been running himself into a humidity-drenched frazzle. He is competing (Flower plays nothing simply for fun) in the London Marathon on 22 April.

The sight of Flower running round the outfield post-match in Sri Lanka, sometimes in company with the bowling coach, David Saker, has been common. It is not Saker whose temple-like body will accompany Flower in a fortnight, however, but the team's psychologist, Mark Bawden.

Flower's longest run so far has been 15 miles, along the Galle coast road, starting at 5.30am to avoid the heat of the day. Three charities, Hope For Children, the Lord's Taverners and Factor 50, will benefit (you can donate at justgiving.com/Andy-Flower).

"I don't even want to think whether I can run 26 miles but I know I have to do it," he says. "There is no discussion."

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain